Research Director, Inc. Presents Exclusive Holiday PPM Analysis For New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco And Dallas
January 20, 2015
The weather outside may still be frightful but what makes this so delightful to 99% of the radio stations in America is that the HOLIDAY 2014 survey is merely a speed bump that has passed. The Ratings Experts at RESEARCH DIRECTOR, INC. – along with a healthy assist from the crew at XTRENDS – dive into the one book a year that is overwhelmingly tilted in the direction of a certain genre of music. It is almost a unifying force. And, as we shall soon see, a dominating one.
The HOLIDAY survey covered the month of DECEMBER like a blanket of snow – from 12/4 through 12/31 to be exact. That also means that of the 28 days of the survey, fully 22 of them had that annoying fake pine scent mixed with bayberry and sprinkled with just a touch of disappointment. As data-driven folk, we did the math and that means that over 78% of the book was covered in tinsel. This is what we in the business call – perspective.
That said, two things we want to keep an eye on this time are – how did CHRISTMAS music perform year-to-year and who got hurt the most by it.
NEW YORK: A Holiday Lite Show
As one would expect, iHEARTMEDIA AC WLTW (LITE FM) shone brightest (7.7-13.5) to clearly outdistance the field P6+. The year’s performance was noticeably rosier than last year’s 11.9. CBS RADIO Classic Hits WCBS-F felt a bit of the sting from SANTA but it could have been worse as the station remained at #2 (6.9-6.2). It was in a far better place than last year when it was #3 with a 4.8 share. EMMIS Urban AC WBLS was up for the second book in a row and posted its best share since JANUARY (5.3-5.8) as it moved up two spots to #3. SBS Tropical WSKQ (LA MEGA) suffered no ill effects from the chilly conditions as it held firm at #4 with its highest total in over a year (5.4-5.6). This was the station’s third straight positive performance. The same could not be said for iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/M WHTZ (Z100), which received a lump of coal in the form of its lowest share since SEPTEMBER (5.6-5.0) as it fell two places to #5. Cluster brother iHEARTMEDIA Classic Rock WAXQ (Q104.3) was also not in the giving mood. Though the station remained at #6, it had its lowest output since FEBRUARY (4.7-4.1).
WLTW exerted its will over the 25-54 demo with a large, double-digit number that was almost a share better than last year’s. WBLS moved forward two paces to #2 with its highest number in over a year. Two stations moved in opposite directions in order to meet at #3. WCBS-F ended a two-book surge as it slipped from #2 while WSKQ had its best showing since SEPTEMBER to rise from #5. WHTZ again had its lowest number since SEPTEMBER as it dropped two places to #5 while WAXQ fell two spots to a tie at #8 with its lowest share in over a year.
The power of the Claus crosses all demographic boundaries – at least in the BIG APPLE. WLTW soared to #1 (from #5) 18-34 with a share that was slightly better than last year’s. WHTZ continued the theme of posting its lowest number since SEPTEMBER as it fell back to #2. iHEARTMEDIA Urban WWPR (POWER) had its lowest total since AUGUST as it dropped a spot to #3. WSKQ ended a two-book slide while remaining at #4. EMMIS Top 40/R WQHT (HOT) had its lowest share in a year to fall two places to #5.
WLTW completed the sweep by dominating 18-49. This year’s total was a half share better than last. WHTZ was down but held on at #2 while WSKQ moved up to #3 as it ended a four-book slide. WBLS turned in its best performance since APRIL to move up two spots to #4. WCBS-F slipped back to #5 as it saw its two-book surge come to a halt. WWPR was off slightly as it dropped to #6 – its lowest rank in this demo since AUGUST.
LOS ANGELES: Chestnuts Were KOSTing
Interestingly enough, while iHEARTMEDIA AC KOST was cruising to its second #1 book in a row with P6+ thanks to the elves, there was precious little collateral damage in the rest of the market. KOST had a huge increase (7.0-12.2) and ended up well ahead of last year’s 10.4. Moving up to the #2 position was iHEARTMEDIA Hot AC KBIG (MY FM), which withstood the blizzard by remaining flat (4.7-4.7). The third member of the cluster triumvirate – iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/M KIIS (KISS FM) – slipped back to #3 with a modest share loss (4.9-4.6). CBS RADIO Classic Hits KRTH (K-EARTH) was also off slightly as it remained at #4 (4.5-4.3) while CBS RADIO Top 40/M KAMP (AMP) moved up two spots to #5 (3.7-4.0). EMMIS Top 40/R KPWR (POWER) fell to #6 but was only down a smidge (3.9-3.8). If you peruse the remainder of the top 10, you’ll see that the only station to lose more than three-tenths of a share was iHEARTMEDIA Talk KFI-A (3.5-3.0), which was tied at #9. So, in the overall scheme, CHRISTMAS had a profound positive effect on one station and little adverse effects on the rest of the market.
Things were a little more bouncy 25-54 but not enough to be considered dramatic. KOST, of course, had a huge share increase and bettered its previous HOLIDAY total by almost two full shares. KIIS was flat at #2 while KBIG remained at #3 with its lowest share in over a year. However, it is worth mentioning that this was the third straight down book for KBIG. Two stations moved up the chart to hang out at #4. KAMP rose from #9 as it bounced back from its lowest book in over a year while KPWR moved in from #6 as it ended a three-book slide. KRTH did fall two places to #6 while UNIVISION Spanish Contemporary KLVE (K-LOVE) had its smallest showing since JULY to drop to #7.
KOST advanced to the front of the 18-34 line – from #3 – with a score that was a bit over a full share lustier than last year. KPWR dropped to #2 with its lowest total in over a year while KIIS slid to #3 with its smallest share since AUGUST KBIG remained anchored at #4 though it did have its best book since SEPTEMBER. KAMP moved up to #5 with its best share since that same month. KRTH slipped back a spot to #6 but actually had a slight share increase.
KOST made it four-for-four by winning 18-49 for the second book in a row. This year’s total was a robust two shares higher than last. KIIS was still #2 with a slight decrease while KBIG held on at #3 by being flat for the second month in a row. KPWR remained at #4 even though it was down for the fourth straight survey. KAMP continued to rebound from its lowest book of the year as it moved ahead two places to #5 while KRTH dropped to #6 with a modest decrease.
CHICAGO: Oh, My, My
In contrast with the previous market, the WINDY CITY felt the full, unbridled wrath of the elves – who never seem to run out of arrows. iHEARTMEDIA Hot AC WLIT (MY FM) saw a monster increase (7.7 – 14.2) with P6+, which was a far cry better than last year’s 11.6 share. Several other stations, however, were heading to the island of misfit ratings. iHEARTMEDIA Urban AC WVAZ (V103) remained at #2 though it lost a chunk of that big book it had last survey (7.3-6.7). CBS RADIO News WBBM-A also fell off the sled a bit (6.2-5.7) though it held steady at #3. HUBBARD Hot AC WTMX (MIX) had anything but visions of sugar plums. Though it did not move from its previous #4 rank, the station had its lowest share since the last time the Santa circus was in town (4.9-4.1). One might be inclined to draw parallels here. iHEARTMEDIA Urban WGCI actually improved its lot – landing its best book since MARCH (3.6-3.9) – to move into the top five for the first time since FEBRUARY. iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/M WKSC (KISS) was not in the festive spirit as it dropped to #6 with its lowest share in exactly a year (4.3-3.8). A couple of other stations that may have felt the dark side of the Yuletide force were CUMULUS Classic Hits WLS-F (3.1-2.6) and CBS RADIO Country WUSN (US 99.5) (3.5-2.6). It will be interesting to see how that station bounces back now that the new year began with a direct competitor.
WLIT exactly doubled its 25-54 share from the previous survey as it moved into the top spot. It also exceeded last year’s total by more than two shares. That was a gift they won’t exchange. WVAZ slipped back to #2 with a healthy share decrease while WTMX remained at #3 despite landing its lowest total in over a year. WKSC refused to budge from #4 even though it posted its lowest number since JUNE. On the other hand, CBS RADIO Top 40/M WBBM-F (B96) had its best book since AUGUST to move forward one square to #5. UNIVISION Regional Mexican WOJO (LA QUE BUENA) dropped to #7 despite being flat. However, the station’s fortunes could change in 2015 since it recently lost some competition.
Every time a bell rings, WLIT moves to #1. This time it was 18-34 and this year’s model was over two shares juicier than last. WGCI dropped to #2 even though it was up for the third book in a row and posted its best number since FEBRUARY. WBBM-F had its highest share since SEPTEMBER to move up to #3 while WKSC scored its lowest number since AUGUST to drop to #4. CUMULUS Alternative WKQX ended a rather dramatic two-book slide as it inched up one position to #5. WVAZ fell to #6 even though it had its second-highest share of the year.
Just before there were hoof prints in the snow, let’s say NOVEMBER, WLIT was #9 18-49. The station went to the roof top this time with another big number – again over two shares shinier than last year. WVAZ‘s reign lasted one book as the station slid back to #2 while WGCI moved up to #3 with its highest total since MARCH. Looks can be deceiving WKSC was still #4 but it landed its smallest share since JUNE. There was a time share at #5. WBBM-F continued its surge as it moved in from #6 while WTMX dropped down from #3 with its lowest number since the last time that right jolly old elf was eating all the cookies.
SAN FRANCISCO: We Built This City On Rock And Snow
Okay, so maybe it was the stuff that comes in a can. This was one of those markets that had two stations gorging themselves on the CHRISTMAS spirit. However, only one was a truly metro station and it was the lead reindeer on the sleigh. ENTERCOM AC KOIT ascended the P6+ throne (5.8-10.6) as it did last year, though this time it was beefier than the 8.9 it had in 2013. CBS RADIO News KCBS-A dropped to #2 with a slight loss (6.3-6.1) while iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/R KMEL moved up to #3 despite a down book (4.7-4.4) KQED INC N/T KQED ended up at #4 with its lowest share in over a year (4.9-4.1). Could that be SANTA’s fault? On the surface it would not seem logical, but there are only so many listening occasions to go around. iHEARTMEDIA Hot AC KIOI (STAR) seemed unaffected by Dasher and the gang as it remained at #5 (3.9-3.8). CBS RADIO Top 40/M KMVQ (NOW) may have ingested too much egg nog as it posted its lowest share in over a year (3.9-3.5) to drop to #8. The “other” holly jolly station, DIGITY AC KBAY, is actually a SAN JOSE station with limited coverage in the main metro. Still, the station was up (2.7-2.8) though it dropped a spot to #14. A year ago it had a 2.6 share.
In NOVEMBER, KOIT was #2 25-54. Now, this time the station was #1 with more than double the share and 2.5 shares above last year’s total. UNIVISION Spanish Adult Hits KBRG moved from a tie at #7 to #2 with its best share since SEPTEMBER. There was a bit of togetherness at #3. KIOI moved up from #4 despite a down book while KMEL dropped from #2. Again, KMVQ had its smallest share in over a year as it dropped to #5. KQED did the same thing but suffered a much steeper decline – falling five places to #10. KBAY moved up three places to a tie at #15 even though it had a slight loss of share. Last year the station landed at #13.
This is the fourth market that The Ratings Experts at RESEARCH DIRECTOR, INC. have analyzed so far and it is the first one where Rudolph was not #1 18-34. KMEL remained on top with a flat performance. Gazing into the past, SANTA could not knock KMEL out of first place last year, either. KOIT did move up to #2 and improved upon last year’s number by a full share. iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/R KYLD (WILD) took a step back to #3 with its smallest showing since SEPTEMBER while KIOI rose two places to #4 with its best book since AUGUST. KMVQ only dropped one place to #5 while CBS RADIO Alternative KITS (LIVE 105) took one step back to #6. KBAY moved up three places to a tie at #17, which was much better than last year’s #23.
KOIT was able to take control 18-49 as it moved into first place with a number nearly 2.5 shares larger than last year’s. KMEL had a modest decrease as it dropped to #2 while KBRG leap frogged three stations in its rise from a tie at #6 to #3 with its highest number since MAY. This acrobatic gesture caused three stations to each take one step backward. KMVQ landed at #4 with its lowest total in over a year while KYLD ended up at #5 with its smallest haul since the last time Santa was comin’ down the boardwalk. KIOI dropped to #6 with a slight decrease. KBAY moved forward three steps to #15. This is better than last year’s #17 and, while it may seem modest, the station is usually hanging around in the 20s.
DALLAS-FT. WORTH: Christmas With Luv
A couple of things about holidays in BIG D. First, there were two stations hung by the chimney with care. Second, the top five stations remained unchanged though they were rearranged. CBS RADIO Classic Hits KLUV (KLUV) rode the P6+ polar express to #1 (5.0-8.8). Last year SANTA delivered a 7.2. iHEARTMEDIA Top 40/M KHKS (KISS) was relatively unaffected by all the hoopla. Yes, the station dropped to #2 but its share loss was minimal (6.8-6.7). The other station with the holiday spirit was SALEM Christian Contemporary KLTY. Though it did join the festivities about two weeks later than KLUV, it still reaped the benefits of the season. The station advanced two places to #3 (4.4-5.5) with its highest share in over a year. Much has been said of the deleterious effect this magic music mix has on the Country format. That was not very apparent here. CUMULUS Country KPLX (THE WOLF) had a side order of venison even though it dropped a spot to #4 (4.8-5.0). Cluster brother CUMULUS Country KSCS was off a bit (4.6-4.3) as it fell to #5 but that number was well within the station’s range of the last five or six books. Amid all this holiday hoohah was the flip of CUMULUS Top 40/M KLIF (HOT). It must have gotten lost in the shuffle as the station dropped a spot to a tie at #17 (2.6-2.2).
SANTA packed a one-two punch 25-54. KLUV moved from #7 to #1 eclipsing last year’s number by just under half a share. Meanwhile, KLTY moved up a spot to #2 and beat last year’s take by more than a share-and-a-half. KHKS fell all the way to #3 but was actually up a tick. iHEARTMEDIA Classic Rock KZPS (LONE STAR) had its best book in over a year yet still dropped back one place to #4. KPLX moved up to #5 while KSCS slid four spots to #6 with its lowest share since SEPTEMBER. iHEARTMEDIA Active Rock KEGL (EAGLE) could not match last month’s book-of the-year as it dropped four places to a tie at #7.
Not only did KHKS bounce back from last month’s lowish share, it prevented the North Pole brigade from winning 18-34. KLUV moved up six spots to #2 (it was #15 in NOVEMBER) with a share that was an improvement over last year. KPLX had its best book since SEPTEMBER to remain at #3 while SERVICE Urban KKDA (K104) held on at #4 with a slight increase. RADIO ONE Top 40/R KBFB (THE BEAT) was also up slightly to repeat at #5. KEGL saw its strong two-book surge come to a grinding halt as it dropped from #2 to #6. KLTY did not get much traction here as it only advanced one square to #17.
Frosty was denied 18-49 because KHKS was up just enough to edge out the snowman. KLUV did rise from a tie at #5 to #2 with a more robust share than last year. KLTY had nice growth here – moving from #9 to #3 – with its highest share in over a year. KPLX was locked in again at #4 with its highest showing since SEPTEMBER while KEGL fell three places to #5. KSCS also dropped three spots and ended up at #6 and tied with iHEARTMEDIA Hot AC KDMX (NOW), which slipped from #5 despite scoring its best number since JANUARY.
So endeth round one. As always, if you would like to cajole, comment, or correct any of the observations generated by The Ratings Experts at RESEARCH DIRECTOR, INC., just enter your information in the links below. Be sure to have your insurance card ready.
Next time, comb through the wreckage of another holiday season in HOUSTON-GALVESTON, WASHINGTON, DC, PHILADELPHIA, ATLANTA and BOSTON. We can’t wait.